Summary: Lengthy and loaded. Confrontational and convicting. All reasons we very seldom (but need to) spend time in the One One Nine!
119 - Pt. 1
It is long. It is lengthy. It is passed over by those who prefer brevity. It is neglected by those who prefer short and sweet. It is shunned by the Reader's Digest crowd. However, in its great length is also has great depth. Multifaceted. It is rich. It is worth the time it takes to explore. It is the 119. It is the longest chapter in the entire Bible. And before we dig into it, it is important to understand some background. It is comprised of 22 stanzas each being 8 verses long and each verse is two lines long. Each stanza sequentially begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So there was structure to David's verbosity. He wasn't just shooting off at the mouth.This is thought out and developed. In fact, there is a tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church that King David used this psalm to teach his son Solomon both the Hebrew alphabet and the “alphabet of the spiritual life.”
As tempting as it may be I will refrain from taking one stanza each week for the next 22 weeks! David's length seems to give birth to more length. Spurgeon, in examining the 119, has 398 pages devoted to it in his writings called "Treasury of David". Thomas Manton, a preacher of old, developed 190 sermons based on 119. So it will be a great task to simplify and pair down to 5 weeks. However, I want us to notice that the 119 has at least 3 major themes that run throughout its landscape. Then there are some particular lessons that I think we should also take some time and ponder.
I will task you with reading the chapter in its entirety start to finish. I however, will pluck the verses out that speak to the themes we are checking out.
The first, and perhaps the most obvious theme that David spends considerable time addressing is the Word of God. You should know this because as little as you may know about the 119 you certainly know verse 105. The Word is a lamp unto my feet. However, we must also go back and realize that from start to finish David, if he is in fact trying to teach Solomon what is important in life, drives home the importance of God's Word in our lives. (Disclaimer . . . I am not going to grab every verse that deals with commands, precepts, law, Word).
Listen to what David's words say to us about THE Word.
II. Walk, Weather, War
a. The Word has implications on how you Walk
Ps. 119:1-3, 9, 11, 24, 105
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— they do no wrong but follow his ways.
9 - How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
11 - I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
24 - Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
105 - Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
David simply states that our involvement in the Word . . . Our daily interaction with the Word . . . Our knowledge of the Word has a direct and dramatic impact on how we walk.
In fact, He states that it is the Word that keeps us from sin. Simply stated we sin because of lack of Word. Without His Word we don't know right from wrong. His standards are found in His Word. We hide His Word in our heart that we might not sin against Him. Our issue is that we hide sin in our heart and we never get enough of His Word to drive out the hidden things. We are experts at hiding things in our heart . . . lust, anger, bitterness, malice, revenge, jealousy and the only hope we have to walk right is to allow the Word to drive out those hidden things!
David is clear our only hope for walking in purity is to live according to God's Word. We are saved by the blood. You know this . . . without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. However, we are washed by Word. The old hymn was right for a sinner needing to be saved - what can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of the Jesus? However, after the blood is applied, and after we are saved we need to move from a blood bath to a Word bath! We keep running back to church/God asking Him to wash us in the blood and He is asking us to run to Word instead. We want to plead the blood because it doesn't cost us. It cost Him but we don't feel that pain. What we need to do is become immersed in the Word and that requires discipline and we feel the pain of that.